On Energy Future, State Must Pick Right Side Of Scale

On Energy Future,

State Must Pick

Right Side Of Scale

To the Editor:
My letter relates to previous submissions regarding energy development, specifically Dick Downey’s letter from the Jan. 31-Feb. 1 editions.
Mr. Downey brings forward two frustrating points. The first is that Climate Change may not be real or related to human activity, and the second that renewable energy is viable only with state support.
I will start with Mr. Downey’s view on climate change, and his contention that resistance to expanding fossil fuel development is because of a “feeling” it will lead to Climate Change. This is not a feeling. I am often accused of not having enough feelings, but in this case, I don’t need them. In my view this is settled science.
We can give Mr. Downey room for doubt and not call it fact, but we cannot dismiss the acres of research on this topic with the widely accepted and simple conclusion – the burning of gas increases greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which in turn warms the planet.
Mr. Downey also brings forward another point, and it is one worth debating because it does not yet have a settled course of action, and that is if the state should tip the scale, or pick winners and losers.
He claims the scale of measurement of gas versus renewable is not equitable because of subsidies favoring renewables. He is absolutely right to look skeptically at these conditions and the economic value of each, and to try to draw a fair comparison, but his letter omits an important consideration – gas receives state support too.
The very thing that brought about this wave of discussion of energy policy was Otsego Now’s application for a grant to support the construction of a gas-decompressor station in Oneonta. That grant is state money, or taxpayer money, going to support gas infrastructure. Therefore, it is proper for us to debate whether or not our state is investing in the right infrastructure for the future.
As we heard at the Jan. 31 Energy Summit, there is an exciting debate about how we can construct energy policy and initiatives that will support economic growth and sustainability. The state routinely plays a role in economic develop-ment by tipping the scale. The question is whether or not the state is picking the right side of the scale.
I am ready to debate that question, and I am thankful that Mr. Downey is too.

DAN BUTTERMANN
Oneonta


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